Taking Steps in the Direction of FaithEurope
So often in the Bible, we see Jesus connecting with people over meals. In living life embedded among secular people, I’m always blown away by how simply inviting my Spanish friends into my home for a meal can produce such a greater depth of conversation and relationship. In a culture and worldview so bogged down in spiritual apathy, it’s incredible to me what a simple pot of chili and a cup of tea can do to break down walls.
At the beginning of this year, I had my Spanish friend Cleo over for lunch, and while we had been genuine friends for a while, we had never managed to talk about anything much deeper than our favorite boy bands. As I heard my doorbell ring I whispered a quick, desperate prayer that this conversation would be different. Before we had even finished cooking the meal, the Lord had already answered that prayer. Our conversation bounced between the history of Christianity in Spain and personal testimony, but what struck me the most was when, partway through the conversation Cleo said, "It's easier for me to be angry at God, than to trust Him."
It speaks a lot to life among secular Spanish people that this statement of anger and distrust towards God actually felt like a huge win in Cleo’s walk. For the first time, she was expressing a real opinion, marked by genuine emotion, about God and His character. She had lowered her defenses long enough to admit that her apathy was a wall she had only built up out of past hurt in her life, and not out of a genuine indifference towards the Lord.
Throughout the conversation, Cleo and I got to chat more about what the Bible says about Jesus and His character, and how God is called our Good Father. And while Cleo’s opinions weren’t immediately changed by the conversation, I was still struck by the fact that instead of her usual apathetic brush off of faith, she had had a moment of feeling that God was big enough to be mad at. And that is something to be celebrated.
Working among secular people has often caused me to redefine what I consider to be a “win” in ministry. When a secular Spanish person starts making progress from complete apathy to a curiosity about the Lord, even if it’s just to question His character, that really is a big and significant part of their journey. I’ve learned to honor the process by which people take steps in the direction of faith.
While Cleo still oscillates between spiritual apathy and curiosity, I live with the faith that, in time, Jesus can transform those moments of curiosity into seeking Him and seeking Him into following Him. And I will continue to follow His lead, honoring the small steps towards faith, and taking it one conversation and meal at a time.